Interior cabinet secretary Professor Kithure Kindiki has given a stern warning to leaders inciting the public against tea-picking machines in Kericho and Bomet Counties.
He says this has led to the destruction of property, theft as well as the attack against security personnel in the undergoing riots.
“I want to put on notice anyone no matter his or her position in government that are involved in inciting the public against tea picking machines that they will face the full force of the law,” said the CS Interior.
He spoke during the official opening of Deputy County Commissioner’s Offices in Kesses Sub-County, Uasin Gishu County.
In the past three weeks conflicts have escalated in several tea farms over disagreement on the use of tea-picking machines and related issues.
Nine green leaf plucking machines and trucks at Ekaterra Company in Kericho County have been torched.
Motor vehicles, including one for the police and private tractors, have also been damaged in unlawful acts of wanton destruction of property
Kindiki said investigations have linked some political and business leaders who support lawlessness and that action will be taken against the identified individuals.
“It is unfortunate that the police who are sent to maintain law and order are the ones who are being attacked. We saw a police vehicle being torched. I will not take this matter lightly. Everyone involved must face the law,” he added.
He noted that 24 suspects have so far been arrested and a helping the police to unearth those involved.
Among the suspects, 13 have been identified to come from Bomet and 11 from Kericho Counties.
The Interior Boss has urged all the victims to air out their complaints through the right channels rather than taking the law into their hands.
“There are many stakeholders employed in this country whose job is to listen to the pleas and plights of the citizens. No one has the right to take the law into their hands. Property being destroyed is expensive and therefore earning losses to the investors,” added Kindiki.
He further urged the security personnel in the Rift Valley Region to work in a multisectoral approach in order to curb the menace and restore harmony amongst the worrying groups. He further asked the religious community to join the multi-sectorial team to assure a lasting solution over the same.
He further applauded the President, William Ruto for excluding the security team in politics stating that it is a neutral entity meant to serve all people.